Mad Men's Final Season

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flipp525
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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby flipp525 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:31 am

This episode ("New Business") seemed very filler to me and kind of strange especially with that bizarre Mimi Rodgers appearance. I actually think it might be one of the worst episodes of the entire series. With so few episodes left, I just don't think we have time for this kind of sub-standard bullshit.

Roger called Diana "Mildred Pierce" last week and then this week Matt Weiner up and gave the character Mildred Pierce's backstory! Don really knows how to sniff out these sad sack jaded brunettes, doesn't he? Not sure what more can be done with Reaser's character. I was surprised that she reappeared at all.

Does Don have no in-between/casual clothes to wear to meet booty calls at this door at 3AM? The "I'm vain" line to explain his suit and tie to the waitress seemed as much Jon Hamm's as it was Don's.

Let's hope this is the last we have to see of the entire Calvet clan, including a heretofore never-mentioned sister. I'm pretty shocked at the $1M payout to Megan at the end which would translate to what in today's dollars? Quite a chunk of change. That kind of payout just felt extremely unlikely to me (does Don really have that much cash at the ready?) Also...how, exactly, did Don ruin Megan's life? It seems like he elevated it in every sense of the word. Did he not support her acting? Did he not finance her while she partied in California? I've never liked Megan but this episode really showed how infantile and entitled her character was. She really wasn't too different from Betty after all. (sidenote: Megan's Loretta Lynn wigs are getting distracting. I kept expecting her to belt out "Coal Miner's Daughter.")

The levels of meta Scientology going on in the scene between Elisabeth Moss and Mimi Rodgers were distracting me. I'd much rather they let me know what was going on with Peggy's new paramour Stevie.

Hilarious that Meredith gets the series' one Manson reference! Speaking of the secretaries, I've always loved Shirley. She's a great actress.

Going from Henry and Betty's house filled with family and milkshakes to Don standing alone in his completely empty apartment seemed a little too Writing 101 pat for me.

I have to admit that after hearing the news last week that Jon Hamm had participated in a brutal assault during his fraternity days, I wasn't looking forward to seeing him on Sunday as I usually do. The details of the hazing were so beyond any sort of "boys will be boys" scenario that it seemed impossible not to imagine Hamm as some kind of sociopath (lighting someone's pants on fire and instructing them that they can only blow the fire when it got close to his crotch, leading someone around by their bails with the claw end of a hammer, etc.) Luckily halfway through the episode I had forgotten it.
Last edited by flipp525 on Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:51 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Kellens101 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:37 pm

I found "Serverance" to be a very good episode and a great start to the last few episodes. Throughout the first 5 or 10 minutes, I was trying to figure out if it was still 1969, but I realized it was 1970 later, due to the changing fashions and hairstyles of the characters. This episode was very dark and full of melancholy compared to the last episodes of season 7. Peggy Lee's "Is That all There Is?" haunts throughout the episode as we realize the 1960s have finally ended and a new era is beginning. I thought the writers would at least include a bit more of 1969 instead of just jump ahead to the 1970s, but I wasn't bothered that much. The opening scene was excellent and was a wonderful beginning to the episode. When Maggie Siff's Rachel appeared in that coat, I was startled as I thought "Yay! An old character!", but was disappointed and strangely saddened by the news that she had died and that was a vision by Don. The whole episode had a very surreal, dreamlike feel that gripped me throughout. Let's hope the last 5 episodes aren't as depressing though, even if this was a top-notch opener.

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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby flipp525 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:51 pm

A lot going on in this new episode, the first of the back-end last six.

I absolutely loved the Mildred Pierce line in the opening scene at the diner. Hilarious. And it was also great to see Elizabeth Reaser as the waitress. She is always such a dependable presence on-screen.

The casting for this show is usually pretty spot-on. Rebecca Creskoff who hilariously played Lanvin-wearing Lenore on HBO's "Hung" appeared last night as Rachel's sister. The model auditioning for the part in the episode’s opening scene was played by the country singer Rainey Qualley, daughter to Andie MacDowell and sister to "The Leftovers" Margaret Qualley. And then, of course, an almost unrecognizable Devon Gummersall who you might remember as the dorky nerd Brian Krakow on "My So-Called Life" showed up as Peggy's new love interest, Stevie Wolcott. He has blossomed into a really handsome man!

I've always wondered how/if they would address Peggy and Pete's baby. It looks like Peggy might end up confessing everything to this new man in her life and confronting it once and for all. Their scene at dinner was just wonderfully rendered. That moment when he comes back over to her for one more kiss before her left her apartment felt very authentic to me.

Rachel Menken's appearance was a jaw-dropper followed closely by the news that she had died. I felt as gutted by that reveal as Don seemed to be. I read this somewhere else, but the entire episode had a "nothing really changes" vibe to it. In a way, Don is still up to his old tricks and they even underscored that by having him "selling" fur coats which is what he was doing before getting scooped up by Roger. Yes, he's effectively merged Don Draper with Dick Whitman -- having him tell the table old whore house stories from his childhood shows just how far Don has come. But then he reverts back to old behavior when another signature brunette waltzes into view. Ken has the chance to follow his passion but instead comes back into the world of SCDP, this time as a client. Peggy is once again hampered with self-doubt (although, I feel like she will have a happy ending). Joan is still being devalued in the workplace and she's unable to parlay her newfound wealth into the commensurate respect she deserves.

The Nixon speech places this episode in April 1970 which surprised me only because I feel like I've been hearing for years (was it from Matthew Weiner himself?) that the show would never leave the 1960s.

So it's now been confirmed that Ken really did lose his eye. "Severance" indeed.

The camera lingered just a bit too long on that wine spilled on the bedroom carpet by the stewardess in the beginning. It looked like arterial blood spray. Can't be a good sign of things to come.
Last edited by flipp525 on Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby flipp525 » Wed May 28, 2014 2:09 pm

One thing I noticed was the wonderful way they had Bert in socks during his song-and-dance number. I thought that was a nice bit of character continuity.

I think Peggy's Burger Chef moment was masterful and such a nice cap to the mid-season finale. Her "Family Supper at Burger Chef" line had just the right earnest and hopeful intonation to it that I can't imagine not welling up a little at hearing it. I also liked how she didn't mention that the little ten year old boy who'd be watching TV at home waiting for her was her neighbor and not her son. There was definitely a look on Pete's face after that line which may be all the writers will ever do to re-visit that plot point.

I also really liked the small touches peppered throughout the episode beginning with Don telling Pete not to worry about how Peggy was going to introduce Don to the Burger Chef people (which turned out to be exactly how Don introduced her to them) as well as the beer Peggy brought for only herself and Don.

Great episode.

Matthew Weiner has stated several times that the show will never reach 1970.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Mike Kelly » Tue May 27, 2014 12:07 pm

"The Strategy" and "Waterloo" were a great one-two punch to end the first half; and I enjoyed the often optimistic tone of the final episode for a change. Those not familiar with How to Succeed... may wonder what the big deal was with Robert Morse's song and dance routine, seeing the octogenarian shuffling along. However, when he gave us his cocked head, eyes upward grin, he was once again J. Pierrepont Finch, and with it another tie-in to the 1960s. A nice touch, and I am glad they didn't push the connection and have him sing "I Believe in You" to Don.

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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Mister Tee » Mon May 26, 2014 3:16 pm

Granted it had something to do with creating climactic moments, but the fact that Mad men reached such a crescendo in the past two episodes -- as it frequently did at the mid-point in past seasons -- confirms my feeling that the show would have done better to do the standard 13-week season. It's like we're just hitting high gear, and it's painful to go on hiatus with so little time left.

As for this episode on its own -- I'd say it's one for the all-time capsule. Structuring around the few most intense days of the Apollo mission raised both the nostalgic and metaphoric temperature, but the dramatic events by themselves -- the attempted and parried coup, and the farewell to a beloved character -- represented the series at peak level.

Just a few high points:

(THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED YET)

The touching/weird moment with Meredith.

Don and Megan's almost post facto breakup -- achieved by the drawn curtain a week ago, finally acknowledged, without rancor, with the sadness of any relationship that didn't have staying power.

Ken Cosgrove's full gleeful grin when Harry Crane is booted from the initial partners' meeting. (One can only imagine Ken's euphoria if he'd seen what happened to Harry later)

The wonderful montage of moon-watching, which captured the full gamut of response. Peggy getting just enough beer for her and Don. Harry leaping to his feet, while a muffled cheer is heard from a nearby room. Roger's grandson in crash helmet. Sally first echoing the jock-hunk's disdain, then being persuaded by her father that cynicism isn't always the right response...and somehow ending up kissing the nerd son (whose "What do I do now?" is perfect adolescent cluelessness). And managing to fit in the historical truth, that Armstrong's immortal quote -- probably memorized by schoolkids ever since -- was close to unintelligible for those of us watching.

(By the way, could Sally with cigarette have more suggested her mother?)

And Bert Cooper experiencing death as a triumphant trip to the moon (which eerily echoed his eulogy of Miss Blankenship seasons ago, when he called her "an astronaut"). What a beautiful, spare way of revealing his passing -- the one-way phone call, then the delicate removal of the name-plate. A lovely mood, harshly interrupted by the Man with No Social Graces, Cutler. You wonder if he might have succeeded in his aims had he not been so lead-footed about his methods. As it was, Roger's "Is this how it'd be if I died?" cut sharply enough to make even Cutler's allies feel queasy about him. It's hard to say if it was just that, or the prod of Bert's "You're not a leader", that moved Roger to his glorious revolution. (If this isn't Slattery's Emmy submission, he's a fool) And wonderful details in that confrontation in Roger's office: Don going into full Carousel pitch mode to persuade Ted to stay on (and save Don in the process); Cutler's mistake of ignorance: thinking he's reminding Ted of something Don talked him into, but inadvertently reminding Ted what he owes Don; then Cutler's hilarious reversal of vote because "It's alot of money".

And, both before and after that scene, the Draper-aided ascension of Peggy. I came to a realization that Don has never seen Peggy as replacement for Betty or any paramour; for him, she's the new Anna Draper in his life, the soul-mate without the complication of romance (fitting that Peggy was with him season ago when Anna's spirit passed). Their hotel room confrontation -- naked fears and needs expressed on both sides -- was one of their best scenes (capped with the hilarious "We have no liquor!") And then Peggy got her own Carousel speech...one that began in such perfect Draper-mode that we didn't even need to see it played full out. (Much like the elided rehearsal we'd seen earlier in the hour) Though we did see Don's full-out gesture of respect to Peggy when he learned she'd landed the account.

The only point of contention I'm seeing around the web is whether Morse's song-and-dance (sans shoes, if anyone didn't notice) was jarring or the perfect finale. I lean to the later camp -- obviously because it salutes More's long-ago career triumph, but also as a summation of the show/season/entire series. "The moon belongs to everyone" is almost too fitting an opening line in context, and the song's theme cuts multiple ways: Don got the best things for his life -- remaining an ad man -- by persuading others via money. It remains to be seen if it'll all work out as happily as they hope.

My hope is that the show picks up chronologically not far after this July 1969 date. There's alot to occur in the months right ahead, events bright (Woodstock, the miracle Mets) and dark (Manson and Altamont). I like the idea of Mad Men never quite getting out of the 60s; the show is about that decade -- whence it sprang, and all the wrenching changes -- and it would be fitting if it wrapped up before 1970 led to a different era.

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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Greg » Mon May 26, 2014 1:13 pm

Two thoughts about this season's finale:

1: The portrayal of the moon landing made me choke up somewhat.

2: I think it is delightful that Robert Morse, at 82, can still sing and dance a little.
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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby flipp525 » Wed May 21, 2014 1:42 pm

I could see Bob Benson as an early victim of the AIDS epidemic that is just over a decade away.
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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby FilmFan720 » Tue May 20, 2014 9:06 pm

The nature of this week's episode makes me wonder if we aren't gearing up for a major explosion of the show in the finale. It seems like we said goodbye to one major character (Megan) and one secondary character (Bob), while getting two scenes (the dance and the dinner) that seemed almost like closing shots of a series. I saw several people on Twitter say that if the show ended on those moments, they would be happy. I kind of agree (and if you have read what Matthew Weiner told Alan Sepinwall years ago about My Way, it seemed like that song has had significance in his mind to the end of the show for a long time). I don't know what could be happening...the death of a central figure, another reorganization of the company, a time jump, a major shift in set-up, but I almost feel like when we come back next year this could be a very different show!
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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Mister Tee » Tue May 20, 2014 7:20 pm

Eric wrote:
flipp525 wrote:I also think that both Megan and Bonnie are finished. The curtain being closed on them in flight felt very final to me.

It took Matthew Zoller Seitz's recap in Vulture to make it clear to me that Megan packing things and asking for the two of them to meet somewhere on "neutral territory" seemed to strongly signal the end of the relationship, for real this time.

I think the fact she was taking "her stuff" (the fondue pot) marked it more serious. She's also bringing the Times "JFK killed" headline, which at once represents her cherished possessions and recalls for long-time viewers that Don & Betty's marriage broke up essentially at the time of that event. Add in the closed curtain, and it feels like Megan is history.

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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Greg » Tue May 20, 2014 3:52 pm

The final episode for 2014 is this coming Sunday.
You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.

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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Eric » Tue May 20, 2014 3:49 pm

flipp525 wrote:I also think that both Megan and Bonnie are finished. The curtain being closed on them in flight felt very final to me.

It took Matthew Zoller Seitz's recap in Vulture to make it clear to me that Megan packing things and asking for the two of them to meet somewhere on "neutral territory" seemed to strongly signal the end of the relationship, for real this time.

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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby flipp525 » Tue May 20, 2014 1:43 pm

Eric wrote:The return of (and presumably final appearance of) Bob Benson was haunting, and made even more haunting given it was a moment the show understandably never afforded Sal.

I absolutely agree, Eric. Given the timing of this week's episode (I think it was supposed to be mid-June), Stonewall was only about a few weeks away which seems to underscore the tragedy of a person like Bob Benson even more so.

Peggy finally realized that simply acting bitter about being slighted in the workplace doesn't actually achieve anything. Instead she used it as a catalyst to find a better strategy for Burger Chef. Character growth! The Peggy/Don scenes were phenomenal. They've always been the heart of this show.

I also think that both Megan and Bonnie are finished. The curtain being closed on them in flight felt very final to me.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Eric » Mon May 19, 2014 10:13 pm

The return of (and presumably final appearance of) Bob Benson was haunting, and made even more haunting given it was a moment the show understandably never afforded Sal.

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Re: Mad Men's Final Season

Postby Mister Tee » Mon May 19, 2014 9:49 pm

Let me quickly say I thought this was the best episode of the season. The Don/Peggy rapprochemont -- with its clear echoes of The Suitcase, and Maria Elena/My Way for underscore -- was the pinnacle, but I also loved Joan's heart-rending "I'd rather die hoping". And the final tableau summed up the hour's theme: here are three people utterly unsuccessful in establishing the sort of family that had defined America till then (glaringly including, unspoken, the fact that Pete fathered Peggy's child), showing the way toward the kind of off-beat arrangements that will come to be more and more central in the coming decades (as well as the fact of work circles being a separate sort of family). Beautiful stuff.


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